Controversial judicial processes against the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and assembly and to self-determination in Spain were presented by lawyers and international human rights experts in a Side Event at the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations

The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted by UN in 2015, illustrates that, at all scales, from local to global, development and sustainability are closely linked and require global active citizens to face the major challenges to come.

Human Rights are one of the pillars of the 2030 Agenda, which offers a unique opportunity to seek to realize the Human Rights of all. The achievement of sustainable development and full human potential is not possible if Human Rights are not assured to everyone. We need to promote peaceful, fair and inclusive societies with equal access to justice, and based on respect to Human Rights, in States with effective rule of law and governance at all levels, with effective, accountable and transparent institutions.

The 17 SDG are integrated and indivisible, but we will focus our attention on the importance of SDG 16, Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels, for Human Rights.

We would like to emphasize the importance of “effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels” and the fact that ーas seen on the SDG 16 targetsー to ensure the respect and achievement of Human Rights, we need to reach “equal access to justice for all” (16.3), “responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels” (16.7) and “public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms” (16.10).

The participation of all countries is necessary to achieve the SDG. Not only developing or in conflict countries or where institutions are less structured, but all countries have to do steps towards more efficient, responsible and inclusive institutions at all levels, to contribute to a sustainable development and, specially to assure the respect to Human Rights. We would like to stress the challenges to face by developed countries with structured and consolidated institutions, highlighting weaknesses, deficiencies and bad practices to tackle.

In this Side Event we considered our most immediate context, as a Catalan organization, at the moment in that Spain is living very challenging social and political movements that test the institutional system on how to respond to extraordinary and relevant new challenges. We did so by analysing controversial judicial processes against the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and assembly and to self-determination in Spain, which were presented by lawyers and international human rights experts.


  • Mr. Olivier Peter, defense team of Mr. Jordi Cuixart, Catalan social leader imprisoned and judged in Madrid for organizing peaceful demonstrations
  • Ms. Amaia Izco, defense lawyer in the Altsasu incident trial, in which a group of young people were accused of terrorism and sentenced to 13 years in Prison for a fight at a bar with off-duty Spanish police officers
  • Dr. Neus Torbisco, visiting professor, International Law Dept., Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Geneva
  • Mr. Michel Tubiana, Honorary President of Euromed Rights


  • Dr. Eduard Vallory, Chairman of Unescocat